Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Seasonal Surprises

I heard them through the open window the other night. As they were high above on that quiet, damp night, I could not see which way they were heading, but I knew by their soft, syncopated honking that they were geese and must be going to some place with ample food and comfort for the coming colder months. Indeed, in this time of transition, it is a time of change for most living things, ourselves included.

While I feel myself folding inward during these short, dark, rainy days, I’ve experienced enough seasonal changes in my life to know that this is a change beyond my control; one that is necessary and important, even if we may not like or enjoy it. Change is seldom easy, after all. But during the intense, difficult work of growing, reproducing, and simply surviving, time is needed to rest and rejuvenate. We may find it odd and uncomfortable the way this happens. Where there were gorgeous blue skies, there now are moody clouds of roiling greys and intense, bruised, purplish blacks. Where there was pure, sparkling sunlight, there now is misty drizzle and chilling rain. The cheerful chirping of the tree frogs gives way to the mournful cries of those night-flying geese…

There also are moments of beauty and joy in this process. I find myself awestruck by the colors of this season: the ripe, round, red and purple berries that are abundant here, the white, orange, and brown fungi that erupt in the woods and meadows, the brilliant orange, yellow, red, and copper leaves on the trees. Whether pre-programmed or anomalies, there are some plants that manage to bloom at this time of year. Colorful Autumn crocus, chrysanthemums, sunflowers, and sedums punctuate otherwise drab gardens, while vine and big-leaf maples, red-osier dogwoods, and shiny-leaved salal and evergreen huckleberries strut their stuff in the local woods. No matter the weather, it’s always good to don your rain gear and take a walk—amazing what it can do for one’s spirit.

We have one hardy plant that surprises me every year. It is an old rose bush – likely a heritage variety because it smells wonderful—that was here when we moved in 40 years go. We’ve dug it up and moved it several times and, sadly, I never really cared if it survived as it is rather leggy, with a puny lavender color. Not my favorite, for sure. The last place we put it was in a corner garden, just below our kitchen window. With very little care, it has thrived there, growing taller each year and producing continuous blooms all summer long and well into the Fall. Even now, with many fully formed rose hips(fruit) which I’ve neglected to prune off, it is continuing to bloom, refusing to give in to this season of darkness. I know that eventually it will stop, finally resting up for next summer. In the meantime, I cherish its fortitude, for it is a good reminder that a new season is always on the horizon.

 As I remember that my dad said: “Life is a series of adjustments,” I now know how true that really is. We DO need to “Grow where we are planted “and carry on as best as we can. It helps if we hang together on the journey!

"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.'"                  Genesis 8:22

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